NEW YORK—Today, Senator Brad Hoylman introduced new legislation that would allow as many New Yorkers as possible to access a COVID-19 vaccine by allowing pharmacists and certified nurse practitioners to administer the vaccine. Once passed, the legislation would take effect on the same day the FDA approves a vaccine for COVID-19.
Senator Hoylman said: “New York is the epicenter of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The number of New Yorkers diagnosed with COVID-19 triples every few days and the death toll heartbreakingly climbs every hour. We need to marshal every available resource to stop this epidemic in its tracks. I’m introducing this legislation so that when a cure for COVID-19 is ready, as many New Yorkers as possible can access it. Now, more than ever, it’s clear we have to follow the science and protect herd immunity.”
While a physician can administer any immunization, pharmacists and certified nurse practitioners are already allowed to administer a wide range of immunizations for common diseases such as influenza, tetanus and diphtheria. Senator Hoylman’s legislation would add COVID-19 to the list of communicable diseases for which pharmacists and certified nurse practitioners are allowed to administer immunizations. The legislation would also establish that the bill takes effect on the same day a vaccine for COVID-19 is approved by the FDA.
COVID-19 is highly contagious and has the potential to infect huge swaths of the population. The need for treatment is already enormous and the demand for a vaccine, one it receives FDA approval, is expected to be high. According to recent reporting, at least 35 companies and research institutions have begun attempts to create a COVID-19. One Boston-based pharmaceutical company claims to have already developed a vaccine that is ready for testing. The FDA’s approval process for vaccines is lengthy and meticulous, meaning it may be as long as a year before a vaccine is approved for widespread use.